How to Create a Winter Skincare Routine

Winter can be a tough time for the skin, as the harsh, cold winds usually result in dryness, redness, flakiness, and general irritation. Even the most perfect spring/summer skin routine might not be enough to combat these common winter skin issues. If you need help adjusting your routine for the colder seasons or are just taking your first steps in the world of skincare, keep reading to find out the best winter skincare routine for you.

The first thing you should do is know your skin type: are you normal, dry, oily, or combination? If you’re confused, don’t worry! The names are pretty self-explanatory. Normal skin is typically pretty easy to deal with -- it doesn’t get too oily or too dry, the pores aren’t too visible, and it tends to be a bit more low-maintenance than the other skin types. Dry skin can be either genetic or occur due to dehydration. It usually comes hand in hand with flakiness, itchiness (or sometimes pain), and for some people, eczema. In addition, most dry skin types also don’t have issues with pores. Oily skin produces more sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands, leading to more shine on the face than other skin types. Oily skin is often associated with acne, visible pores, and surprisingly, dehydrated skin (drying out your skin too much results in the skin overcompensating with more sebum!). Those with combination skin have both dry and oily skin on different parts of their face -- typically, the T-Zone (the forehead and nose) is oily and the U-Zone (the cheeks, jawline, and chin) is dry. Now that you know your skin type, we can move on to the skincare routine itself!

Image Sources: KraveBeauty and Farmacy

Cleanser

Cleansing is typically the first step in most people’s routines. While some people use a cleanser both day and night, some choose to use water in the morning and use cleanser only in their nighttime routine. Although this might sound unhygienic to some avid cleanser-lovers, according to Liah Yoo, popular beauty YouTuber and founder of KraveBeauty, not using cleanser in the morning helps maintain the skin barrier and avoids stripping the skin too much. You can choose what you want to do, but the most important thing in the winter is to cleanse without drying out the skin. If you have very dry skin, consider trying out water in the morning and cleanser at night -- it might help to maintain your skin’s natural oils and keep your face hydrated! If you’re sure you want to use cleanser both morning and night (this is my personal routine since I have combination-oily skin), look into cleansers that won’t leave your skin with that squeaky clean feeling.

Some of my picks are KraveBeauty’s Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, and CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser. For those of you who wear makeup, I recommend double cleansing with a cleansing balm, as it will take off all your makeup but won’t irritate your skin like cleansing wipes might. Check out Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, Banila Co’s Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm (comes in different formulas to accommodate different skin types!), Heimish’s All Clean Balm, and Farmacy’s Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. All of the cleansers mentioned above will be a great option for all skin types, as they are gentle enough for sensitive skin, hydrating enough to not irritate dry skin, but works well enough to keep oily skin feeling clean but not stripped.

Image Sources: Kitsune Beauty and Dr. Jart+

Protection

Sunscreen is a must, no matter how sunny (or gloomy) it is outside. Make sure your skin is protected so it’s always in tip-top shape and prepared to fight against the elements -- ESPECIALLY if you use vitamin C, retinols, or anything that makes your skin more sensitive to the sun! For a general recommendation, check out The Beet Shield (SPF50+/PA++++) by KraveBeauty, which has been raved about by both Korean and American YouTubers. Its key ingredients such as beetroot extract, allantoin, vitamin C, resveratrol, and EGCG all help prevent aging, reduce pigmentation and blemishes, moisturize, soothe, and shield against stressors; in addition, the sunscreen also doubles as a makeup primer! The only thing is that it is a bit tacky, so some people with oily or combination skin may prefer a more gel-like consistency. In that case, I’d recommend the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (SPF50+/PA++++), a cult-favorite among the skincare community, and the Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Sun Fluid (SPF50+/PA+++), which is not as tacky as The Beet Shield and not as watery as the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence.

Image Source: Biossance

Moisturizer

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I cannot emphasize this enough, and I’m sure you all already know how important it is during the wintertime. Drier skin types would benefit from thicker creams and oils, such as the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream, the Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream, and The Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane (this saved my best friend when her face was ridden with eczema during Winter 2017, and works amazingly on me too!). Like the sunscreen section stated, oily and combination skin types may once again prefer a gel-like texture, but this time a lighter gel may not be enough. Some gel-like textures that are moisturizing enough for the winter can be found in creams such as the Tatcha Water Cream, the Biossance Squalane and Probiotic Gel Moisturizer, and the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream. Oily and combination skin types shouldn’t be afraid of applying oils, either. As long as the oil isn’t comedogenic (which means pore-clogging), you’ll be fine! Some non-comedogenic oils are rosehip oil and hempseed oil. If you want to ensure all-day hydration, consider adding serums to your routine for another layer. The Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Green Tea Seed Serum is the brand’s best selling product and many of my friends’ serum of choice, and for good reason. While I was skeptical of it at first because I’m very sensitive to fragrance, I luckily got to try a sample after receiving one with my Black Friday order. It didn’t irritate my skin whatsoever, absorbed into my skin quickly, and left my face feeling supple and soft.

Image Sources: 100% Pure, Glow Recipe, Bite Beauty

Extras

While we’ve covered the core products of a skincare routine, we can’t neglect our supplemental products. Take care of your eye area with a moisturizing and depuffing eye cream like the 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream (it’s also vegan and smells heavenly). For the lips, make sure they’re always moisturized by carrying around a lip balm or even a lip mask, if needed. After trying out dozens of lip products, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bite Beauty makes my favorite balms and masks. The Agave Lip Mask is more heavy duty and definitely leaves a thick layer on the lips whereas the Agave Lip Balm is more lightweight and easier to apply due to the stick form. Both products left my lips feeling moisturized for hours and hours, but for my friend with much drier lips, she noticed a drastic difference between them and preferred the mask. Speaking of masks, face masks are a great way to lock in moisture and target particular issues such as brightening. Glow Recipe’s famous Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask seals all the layers of product from your nighttime skincare routine and leaves your skin glowy and soft the next morning. The only downsides are that you may wake up with string-like residue on your face and the smell is reminiscent of Jolly Ranchers, which is something I found a bit off-putting as someone who doesn’t love overly-fragranced products.

We hope this helped you create your perfect winter skincare routine! Stay happy, healthy, and hydrated.